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Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus and Mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen participated in Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations in The Hague

Posted on: October 05, 2020 | Back | Print

Embassy of India

The Hague

Press Release

October 2, 2020

Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus and Mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen participated in Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations in The Hague

Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus and Mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen participated in the International Day of Non-Violence celebrations in The Hague organized by the Embassy of India, The Hague in cooperation with Stichting Standbeeld Mahatma Gandhi on Oct 2. The event was the grand finale in the Netherlands of two years of activities to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Addressing a large online audience, Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus said that Mahatma Gandhi, the man who brought the British empire to its knees, showed that a violent oppressor could be defeated by means of peaceful protest, patience and dialogue. The Minister strongly commended the Indian community in the Netherlands for being one of the best integrated communities in the Netherlands. He described them as modest, positive and forward thinking. Gandhi’s teachings are alive and well in the world and the principle of non-violence is firmly anchored in our society. We must cherish this principle and on this special day celebrate.

The event was also addressed by the Mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen who said the name of the champion of Non-Violence Mahatma Gandhi will always be linked to The Hague - the international city of peace and justice. He described the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in The Hague as a monument which pays homage to Father of India and commemorates Surinami-Hindustani immigration. The Mayor said that Mahatma Gandhi remains an inspiring example to all nations and generations. Ambassador of India to the Netherlands H.E. Mr. Venu Rajamony said that what Mahatma Gandhi achieved through non-violence was unparalleled. Talking about the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi`s message to the post COVID world, Ambassador Rajamony stressed on the need to invest in health and education. He also highlighted the importance of helping each other without fear & discrimination, and in particular taking care of the poor and under privileged.

Other speakers at the event included the Ambassador of Afghanistan H.E. Mohammad Asif Rahimi and Ambassador of Bangladesh H.E. M. Riaz Hamidullah to the Netherlands; Deputy Mayor of The Hague Bert van Alphen; former Dutch Ambassador to India Eric Niehe; and Mr. Ram L. Lakhina, Chairman of Stichting Standbeeld Mahatma Gandhi.

Other celebrations to mark the 151st birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in the Netherlands included garlanding of Gandhi statues in the four cities of The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Zoetermeer, with members of the public paying tributes by placing flowers at the feet of the statues as a mark of respect amidst speeches and singing of favourite songs of Mahatma Gandhi. A “Follow the Mahatma” campaign to disseminate Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence to school children was also conducted by the Embassy and the Gandhi Non-Violence Foundation. Around 550 students from 6 schools were visited by volunteers. Through lectures and interactive sessions, volunteers educated students about the life of Mahatma Gandhi and how India won freedom through a non-violence movement.

These events, all conducted under strict COVID-19 guidelines, were the culmination of the two years of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. The two year celebrations in the Netherlands have included Peace Marches involving school children; Cycling Rallies to spread awareness regarding the Gandhian philosophy of simplicity and sustainability, tree plantation at important landmarks of The Hague, Student Outreach Programs at schools, exhibitions on the life and message of Gandhi at the City Hall and release of commemorative stamps marking the 150th birth anniversary issued by the Indian Postal Department.

In 2007, the United Nations declared Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, October 2, as the International Day of Non-Violence and called upon countries and people across the world to spread his message of non-violence.

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